The Pittsburgh Steelers Helmet History

Like the Cleveland Browns, the Pittsburgh Steelers own what is also one of the most unique helmets in pro football. Like the Browns, the Steelers go logoless, but unlike the Browns, they have a helmet logo. They’re the only team in the NFL that only puts their logo on one side of the helmet.

 

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Speaking of Logos

Their helmet logo stems from Steelmark, the logo that represents steel and the steel industry owned by the American Iron and Steel Institute which can be viewed in its entirety here.

The team adopted the colors of black and gold, which also serves as the City of Pittsburgh’s colors and also that of their two other sports teams, the MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates and the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

 

Early Helmet History: 1933-1967

For most of their early history, the Steelers used what appears to be an all-gold leatherhead before switching to an all-gold helmet with a plastic shell in 1960.

In 1962, Steelers’ owner Art Rooney introduced the unique Steelmark logo but wished to test the look on the gold helmet before adopting it full-time. Therefore, Rooney instructed equipment manager Jack Hart to place the logo on the right side of the helmet. The look was immediately popular with fans, which motivated the team to keep the look full-time and it remains so today.

In 1963, the current logo came into mold, as the Steelers were granted permission to add the letters ‘ers’ to the current Steel wordmark shown in the logo. Also, the orange asteroid was changed to red.

You can view the classic Steelers’ look here.

 

Subtle Changes: 1967-Present

Like their rivals, the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers have only made slight changes to the helmet since the 1967 change, when they switched the helmet’s color from gold to black, with the black helmet stripe changing to gold.

Only the facemask has changed since the helmet redesign, going from gray to black in the early 1970s.

The look has become one of the most recognized worldwide, especially after the collapse of the steel industry in America during the latter half of the 20th century. Coupled with the Steelers’ success over the past 47 years, many left Pittsburgh and took their team’s heritage with them all over the nation and these days, worldwide.

It’s not uncommon to see several Steeler fans in every part of the US for this reason, as many can trace their familial roots back to the City of Pittsburgh.

 

My Take

The look is rather iconic, I must say, and it’s another reason the Steelers share a rivalry with the Cleveland Browns, as each teams’ helmet and for the most part, uniforms have remained traditional, both receiving modernized upgrades even during Cleveland’s 2015 redesign.

Like the Browns, the Steelers can link today’s players with the Steel Curtain dynasty of the 1970s, as players like Juju Smith-Schuster and James Connor have worn the same look as players like Franco Harris and Lynn Swann.

At the very least, I respect teams who follow such a mantra.

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8 Replies to “The Pittsburgh Steelers Helmet History”

  1. Interesting post there Todd; I didn’t know that the Steelers are the only NFL tram to have their logo on only 1 side of the helmet. Do you think that they’ll win the Super Bowl next year?

    1. They definitely are! I don’t think they will. With Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell leaving the team, they’re going to be in some trouble. While Juju Smith-Schuster and James Connor are good players, they’re nowhere near the caliber of their predecessors. But as a Browns fan, I won’t lose any sleep if the Steelers struggle next season. Lol.

  2. Hi Todd

    Personally, not a big fan of American football but I really like your article about the helmet. I like that you mentioned the history of the helmet too. I should say, it is quite interesting.

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. One reason I went to the aesthetic niche was because talking of helmets and jerseys linked those outside the realms of those who never followed the game in the past. It kind of serves as a small introductory to some of the looks and designs rather than talking of the game itself, which can be very dry at times!

    1. Thanks, Stefania! Some of these helmets, like Pittsburgh’s, never change for the most part and it allows for short, quick reads! I think some fans like that.

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